JS Tip 437: Leaders and Accountability

From the Leadership Workshops: Leaders and Accountability

Great leaders are accountable.

Hours before the Normandy Invasion, General Dwight Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, drafted two press releases: one for an allied victory, the other for an allied defeat. The last paragraph of the second release read—

  • My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.

Notice: “If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.” This is accountability.

When the federal siege of the Branch Davidians ended in fire and death, Attorney General Janet Reno spoke on national television:

  • This was a judgment I made. I investigated it completely. I asked the questions. I talked to the experts when I had questions. I think the responsibility lies with me.

Notice: “This was a judgment I made. . . . the responsibility lies with me.” This is accountability.

Men and women will not follow leaders they don’t trust, and trust comes—certainly in part—from accountability. Leaders must be accountable.

We’ll continue the discussion.

Mark Brooks